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  • Writer's pictureAlbright

Turkey attack - Spring time!

Well well..... Yesterday was the day that our turkey tom decided it was time...... Time meaning LETS forget who feeds us every day and instead do our natural transition into adulthood and mating season.

We purchased six baby chicks in spring of 2020. They grew quickly and we put them in a makeshift pen with an indoor stall. The intent was to have butcher turkeys for the freezer and to possibly raise some depending on how many females and males we got for a mating pair. Turns out we had two females and four males. We kept the two females and one tom and well you know the intent so we butchered three in our new enclosed butcher room we built this year right here on the ranch with hot/cold water, two work stations, band saw, industrial sealer, refrigerator/freezer, and of course a TV so we can watch those YouTube tutorial videos! .

Well it appeared that the two females and the tom left were not happy with what transpired even though they didn't know their lives had been pardoned to live a luxury life. After two escapes from their pen (yes it was enclosed with bird netting yet the strength of a determined turkey is no match) trying to catch them especially the two females that had decided to perch on the roof of the barn was comical to say the least. However after the second escape the Tom was no where to be seen. Eventually we found feathers on the other side of the fence assuming he was killed.

When you do any sort of livestock you understand the heartache you feel when your "plan" is devastated by loss. Now with no tom we had two females and no way to hatch and rear new pullets... Not to mention we'd raised that tom since he was tiny for 7 months. Thru the love of friends and neighbours we had one offer us eggs to hatch. Another offered one of her toms that her husband just couldn't bare to dispatch after raising them. We opted for the tom since our girls had already matured and with eggs, hatch time and rearing would mean another 9 months plus before we'd be able to breed for future generations.

Meet Barney

With the escapes prior we set up our old greenhouse with pig panels and chicken wire. Put the cover back on (thinking it would be GREAT for winter like a little heated arena for them) . AND it was until 35 plus MPH winds hit. We watched (and scrambled) as the little mean green greenhouse was lifted up, twisted and blown over onto the pheasant run. THANKFULLY not opening their pen. ALSO thankful that Barney, Betty and Wilma all escaped with zero injuries and actually quite calm as we rounded them up and put them into another temporary enclosure that was being built for a special breed of chickens coming to the ranch this summer... MORE on that later ...

THIS is what our poor turkeys survived thru. A 30ft greenhouse picked up by the wind, twisted and thrown completely 90 degrees....

OK back to "SPRING TIME". Apparently turkeys no different than other animals during mating season can sometimes become, hummmm lets say unpredictable, scary, funny, crazy, and just sometimes nasty. YA Barney... He was sweet and he will be again..... Just not right now. It was like a light switch. Day before yesterday I was hand feeding him.. Yesterday and today he flocks me when I enter the enclosure... And I don't know if you have ever been around an angry turkey but they can be and are scary!!!

Heres a little story of more on why I wanted turkeys. Back in high school many many many many years ago I had an amazing friend who has since passed and I miss her dearly. She had a pet turkey when we were teenagers. AND that Turkey ---His name was FRED. Connie thought it was funny telling me call him by his name but stretch it out ----FREEEEEEEED... I did and yup that turkey attacked.. Ha ha ha.. so funny that it traumatised me and I was fearful of all birds. Funny right as I continue to grow our flock ( oh that's right, sorry you'll have to wait for another blog post as I've not shared what's coming in spring! LOTS).... So to my dear friend in heaven know that you inspired me on my bird flock journey .Love to you

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